It hasn’t been all fun and games here in American Samoa. Oh wait, yes it has! Our WorldTeach orientation is three weeks long, and our days are packed tight with everything from learning about how to design and organize our classroom, how to prevent illness such as Dengue Fever, and how to follow the benchmarks and standards set up for each of our respected teaching subjects. While orientation has been information overload and quickly becomes exhausting, everything that we are learning is pertinent and interesting. We have had many guest speakers from the DOE (Department of Education) as well as the Teacher Quality office (a group of previous educators who spend their time helping, assessing, and guiding teachers on island). Yesterday, the Director of LBJ Hospital and his wife, who works at a Women’s Health Clinic in Leone (where I will live) came and spoke to us about staying healthy and safe during our time in American Samoa. While here, we cannot drink the tap water. It must always be boiled and cooled before drinking. We can also purchase bottled water which is actually relatively cheap. A massive bottle of Fiji water only costs $1-$1.50. I’ve never had it in the States, but isn’t it a lot more expensive than that? I am going to try to refrain from buying bottled water mainly because 1) the island does not have any recycling and 2) garbage is a huge issue here – it is everywhere but the trash can. I’ll save that for another post, but I’ll note that it is sad to walk through a beautiful park or near the ocean, and see it filled with trash.
There are only 3 English teachers this year in our WT group. I find that so crazy! Most are teaching math, science, and elementary, while a few others are teaching Applied Technology, Business, and Social Studies. We have been learning about lesson planning the past couple days which has actually been a big help to me. I was hired to teach at Kishwaukee three days before my class started, so I never actually learned the correct way to lesson plan. I figured out my own style, but now that I have more of a defined, clear way of writing one, I am psyched to begin planning for the year! Yesterday, our respective groups/subjects each presented a 30 minute lesson to the overall group. The English/Social Studies group presented on how to write a thesis statement for a descriptive paragraph. I wasn’t nervous beforehand, and when I taught my part, I felt a little jumbled but tried my best to stay calm and collected. When we finished, our group got awesome feedback and barely any constructive criticism. Talk about letting out a huge sigh of relief! Later in the night, a few girls told me specifically that I had done a great job and that I looked like a complete natural. While this took me aback, it was probably one of those compliments that will stick with me throughout the rest of my life.
Orientation has its low times when lunch rolls around. Someone on island is cooking for us everyday, but the lunches are scary looking. Colorless meat, sketchy looking noodles….I guess it’s all part of the experience. I had to cave into making myself PB & J though and it felt good to have a little comfort food.
That’s all for now. Today we have a tour of the entire island and it looks to be beautiful day. Better start sunscreening myself up! Malo!